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Cents-Per-Mile Rate for Business Miles Decreases Slightly for 2020

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This year, the optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business decreased by one-half cent, to 57.5 cents per mile. As a result, you might claim a lower deduction for vehicle-related expense for 2020 than you can for 2019.

Calculating your deduction

Businesses can generally deduct the actual expenses attributable to business use of vehicles. This includes gas, oil, tires, insurance, repairs, licenses and vehicle registration fees. In addition, you can claim a depreciation allowance for the vehicle. However, in many cases depreciation write-offs on vehicles are subject to certain limits that don’t apply to other types of business assets.

The cents-per-mile rate comes into play if you don’t want to keep track of actual vehicle-related expenses. With this approach, you don’t have to account for all your actual expenses, although you still must record certain information, such as the mileage for each business trip, the date and the destination.

By |February 21st, 2020|deduction, deductions, New Tax Laws, vehicles|0 Comments

Linkenheimer Team’s Eye Care Service Project to Nicaragua in January of 2020

We departed the night of January 14, 2020 on a graveyard flight from SFO to Houston to Managua. The intrepid travelers included first timers – Dana Breaux, Ernie Ceja, Charla Balkin, Jan Coulter, Gino Scurini and Kelly McGlinchy. Experienced missionaries included Carli Ortiz, Kerri Berry, Nina Shaposhnikov, Joshua Warren, Andy Vedder and John Jones. Our objective was to provide eye care (exams and prescription eye glasses for free) to the people of Las Azucena. This is a small village south of San Carlos Nicaragua and upriver from our home base at the Sabalos Lodge.

Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere behind Haiti. The area of Sabalos and the Rio San Juan is the poorest of all Nicaragua. Average per capita income for the country is about $400 and likely in the Rio San Juan it is closer to $200 per year. Few paying jobs exist with most people surviving on subsistence farming. The people though are very content and gracious. There are no eye care teams (or brigades) that make it to this part of the country. The work we do through the firm, Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary and St Mark Lutheran Church is the total eye […]

By |February 14th, 2020|Community, Nicaragua|0 Comments

Help Protect Your Personal Information By Filing Your 2019 Tax Return Early

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The IRS announced it is opening the 2019 individual income tax return filing season on January 27. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline (or you file for an extension), consider filing as soon as you can this year. The reason: You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and you may obtain other benefits, too.

Tax identity theft explained

In a tax identity theft scam, a thief uses another individual’s personal information to file a fraudulent tax return early in the filing season and claim a bogus refund.

The legitimate taxpayer discovers the fraud when he or she files a return and is informed by the IRS that the return has been rejected because one with the same Social Security number has already been filed for the tax year. While the taxpayer should ultimately be able to prove that his or her return is the valid one, tax identity theft […]

By |February 6th, 2020|individuals, irs, tax deadlines, tax planning, w2|0 Comments

IRS Launches New Identity Theft Website

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The IRS has launched “Identity Theft Central,” a new website devoted to identity theft and data security for taxpayers, tax professionals, and businesses. Available 24/7, the site provides resources on reporting identity theft and guarding against phishing, online scams, and more. Specifically, the site (1) lists steps to take if you become a victim of identity theft; (2) summarizes the responsibilities of tax professionals under the law; and (3) instructs businesses on how to recognize the signs of identity theft. Also, the page features videos on key topics that can be used by taxpayers or partner groups. The IRS encourages tax professionals to bookmark the site and periodically check the guidance for updates. Identity Theft Central can be accessed at www.irs.gov/identity-theft-central .

By |February 6th, 2020|irs|0 Comments

4 New Law Changes That May Affect Your Retirement Plan

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If you save for retirement with an IRA or other plan, you’ll be interested to know that Congress recently passed a law that makes significant modifications to these accounts. The SECURE Act, which was signed into law on December 20, 2019, made these four changes.

Change #1: The maximum age for making traditional IRA contributions is repealed. Before 2020, traditional IRA contributions weren’t allowed once you reached age 70½. Starting in 2020, an individual of any age can make contributions to a traditional IRA, as long he or she has compensation, which generally means earned income from wages or self-employment.

Change #2: The required minimum distribution (RMD) age was raised from 70½ to 72. Before 2020, retirement plan participants and IRA owners were generally required to begin taking RMDs from their plans by April 1 of the year following the year they reached age 70½. The age 70½ requirement was first applied in the early […]

By |February 4th, 2020|ira, New Tax Laws, retirement|0 Comments

New Law Helps Businesses Make Their Employees’ Retirement Secure

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A significant law was recently passed that adds tax breaks and makes changes to employer-provided retirement plans. If your small business has a current plan for employees or if you’re thinking about adding one, you should familiarize yourself with the new rules.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) was signed into law on December 20, 2019 as part of a larger spending bill. Here are three provisions of interest to small businesses.

  1. Employers that are unrelated will be able to join together to create one retirement plan. Beginning in 2021, new rules will make it easier to create and maintain a multiple employer plan (MEP). A MEP is a single plan operated by two or more unrelated employers. But there were barriers that made it difficult to setting up and running these plans. Soon, there will be increased opportunities for small employers to join together to receive better investment results, while allowing for less expensive and more efficient management services.
  2. There’s an increased tax credit for small employer retirement plan startup costs. If you want to set up a retirement plan, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, new […]
By |February 4th, 2020|New Tax Laws, retirement|0 Comments

Your Home Office Expenses May Be Tax Deductible

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Technology has made it easier to work from home so lots of people now commute each morning to an office down the hall. However, just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it.

Regularly and exclusively

In order to be deductible for 2019 and 2020, you must be self-employed and the space must be used regularly (not just occasionally) and exclusively for business purposes. If, for example, your home office is also a guest bedroom or your children do their homework there, you can’t deduct the expenses associated with the space.

Two options

If you qualify, the home office deduction can be a valuable tax break. There are two options for the deduction:

  • Write off a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and certain other expenses, as well as the depreciation allocable to the office space. This requires calculating, allocating and substantiating actual expenses.
  • Take the “safe harbor” deduction. Only one simple calculation is necessary: $5 times the number of square feet of the office space. The safe harbor deduction is capped at $1,500 per year, based on a maximum of 300 square feet.

Changes through 2025

Under […]

By |February 4th, 2020|business, deduction, expensing, New Tax Laws|0 Comments

Vote Now for Your Favorite Local Businesses

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It’s that time of the year- New Years Resolutions, Super Bowl parties, voting for your favorite local companies… The NorthBay Biz has opened the polls to their annual Best of the Best survey. We’d love it if you took a minute to vote for your favorite local companies and accounting firm! Click here to cast your vote!  

It’s been 88 years since Linkenheimer opened for business and we are grateful for another year of being able to serve our clients and community!

By |January 30th, 2020|best, best place to work, Community|0 Comments

New Law Provides a Variety of Tax Breaks to Businesses and Employers

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While you were celebrating the holidays, you may not have noticed that Congress passed a law with a grab bag of provisions that provide tax relief to businesses and employers. The “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020” was signed into law on December 20, 2019. It makes many changes to the tax code, including an extension (generally through 2020) of more than 30 provisions that were set to expire or already expired.

Two other laws were passed as part of the law (The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 and the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act).

Here are five highlights.

Long-term part-timers can participate in 401(k)s.

Under current law, employers generally can exclude part-time employees (those who work less than 1,000 hours per year) when providing a 401(k) plan to their employees. A qualified retirement plan can generally delay participation in the plan based on an employee attaining […]

By |January 29th, 2020|401k, affordable care act, business, tax, tax credit|0 Comments

Wayfair Revisited — It’s Time to Review Your Sales Tax Obligations

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In its 2018 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld South Dakota’s “economic nexus” statute, expanding the power of states to collect sales tax from remote sellers. Today, nearly every state with a sales tax has enacted a similar law, so if your company does business across state lines, it’s a good idea to reexamine your sales tax obligations.

What’s nexus?

A state is constitutionally prohibited from taxing business activities unless those activities have a substantial “nexus,” or connection, with the state. Before Wayfair, simply selling to customers in a state wasn’t enough to establish nexus. The business also had to have a physical presence in the state, such as offices, retail stores, manufacturing or distribution facilities, or sales reps.

In Wayfair, the Supreme Court ruled that a business could establish nexus through economic or virtual contacts with a state, even if it didn’t have a physical presence. […]

By |January 29th, 2020|sales tax|0 Comments